Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rethinking Some Relationship Clichés

Today is my third wedding anniversary (original post about it here with a link to my vows here). So, I figured this would be a good time to look at some relationship clichés, shall we?

It’s not great being married, but it’s easier than being single. Marriage is one of those things people do not because they like doing it, but because it beats the alternative, like immunization shots or voting Democrat. Even people who are recently married aren’t excited about it. That’s why on the back of their car they write, “Just Married.” You know: nothing special, just married, no big whoop.

I also don’t think of my wife as “the one.” That whole idea seems very odd and borderline religious. It implies destiny or fate, but I think that takes away from what my wife and I have. We had to work to make our relationship last, and I’m not about to share the credit with some mystical force that supposedly brought us together when I know it’s my amazing skills in bed that did it… clearly.

My wife and I never use the terminology “making love.” That sounds like how grandparents have sex. We “do it.” “Making love” also sort of seems to me like love is based on sex, and that’s not a healthy way to view sex or love.

“You can’t change someone.” Now that one’s a huge load of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t change some things about some people, but if someone will not change something they do that bothers you to your core, you should leave them sooner than later. If you’re with someone who won’t change at all for you, they’re a pretty selfish and irritating person. I guess this idea that you are perfect just the way you are comes from this one…

“You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” This one’s an even bigger, hotter, smellier, more fly-ridden heap of bullshit than the last one. You should never love yourself, ever, for any reason. You can like yourself, and it’s certainly not healthy to hate yourself, but if you love yourself, you can’t possibly love anyone else. I’ve tried to love people who loved themselves, and they never loved me; I was only an accessory for them.

People give awkward and often creepy advice when a relationship ends. The worst I ever heard is, “Well, now you’re single, so you can sleep with anyone.” Really? Anyone? Okay Mr. Rapist… let’s look at that realistically. You aren’t going to sleep with people in relationships, you aren’t going to sleep with people you aren’t attracted to, you aren’t going to sleep with people who aren’t attracted to you, you aren’t going to sleep with people who live vast distances away from you, you aren’t going to sleep with people you never even met… so basically, that narrows it down to your ex.

I think it should be legal to punch someone in the face if they say, “There are plenty of other fish in the sea.” Like the last one, this bit of pseudo-wisdom implies that once a relationship is over, you are (or should be) thinking about other people. It’s been my experience, however, that when a relationship ends, usually one person already has someone lined up while the other person will pine for their lost love for a while afterwards, to sort of mourn the relationship. So really, after a relationship ends, neither party is probably looking. And let’s be honest: if you wanted to be single (and therefore able to be with other people), you wouldn’t have been in a relationship in the first place.

Maybe the biggest cliché I hear from people initiating a break up is, “It shouldn’t be this hard.” There may be examples to the contrary… but really, all relationships are hard. They all require vast amounts of conscious effort and constant attention. Relationships are built on self-sacrifice and mutual respect forged in the fires of unspeakable anger. If you haven’t honestly thought about killing the person you are with, you have no idea what a real relationship is. A real relationship is when each person opens up and is comfortable dropping the mask of polity to a point where murderous rage is inevitable. The relationship isn’t built on this rage, it’s built on the fact that you would never act on it, because you know you love that person, even when you want to gouge out their eyes. I hear this is good practice for having children.

Another common complaint of people in a relationship they are thinking of ending is, “I’m just not happy.” Tough shit. Try waiting a while, and I bet you’ll find that it passes. A relationship isn’t a non-stop joyride. Those first two months of constantly having sex and learning new, exciting things about the other person can’t last forever. If you leave relationships at the first sign of a low point, do the world a favor and just kill yourself now. The planet doesn’t need another self-absorbed, piece of shit quitter.

Anyone who says that it was “Love at first sight,” is really saying: “We got together because we made each other tingly in our genitals.” It should be “lust at first sight.”

Some guys talk about going home to the “old ball and chain.” I never understood this one, because I’m the only one in the relationship with anything remotely resembling a ball and chain.

I used to love the sentiment that, “You can’t choose the ones you love.” It’s so true, and it has so many interesting implications, but it’s not really justification for anything. I think gay people should be allowed to be with whoever they want, and I think people who practice infidelity are adults capable of making their own decisions, but this can be taken too far. Namely, I think it’s fair to say that no one chooses to be a pedophile, but their lack of choice on the matter doesn’t justify anything. As with all impulses, what is actually important is not where the urge comes from, but whether it’s harmful or not.

Those who do cheat should never use the phrase, “It didn’t mean anything.” If it didn’t mean anything, then why do it? Better yet, if it didn’t mean anything, why feel compelled to even present such an argument? Any sort of infidelity does mean something to a partner or spouse who has not consented to such an arrangement. No one cares if it didn’t mean anything to the cheater. If anything, I would hope it did mean something to my wife if she cheated on me, because if she’s going to hurt me that much, it better mean something. This cliché is really an appeal to take them back, and what they really mean to say is, “I didn’t get out of it what I thought I would, and I regret doing it.”

If they say, “I think we should see other people,” they already are.

As grim as these are, being in a relationship and risking a break-up is more or less universally recognized as being preferable to being alone (with a few ironically paired chauvinist and feminist hold-outs). Maybe this is because the clichés of the single world are even worse…

Ladies, how many times have you heard, “I really like you, but I’m not ready/looking for a relationship right now” from a guy you just slept with? What he really means is, “I want to fuck you until I find someone better, but you should know that you are well below my standards. However, I’m a guy and will stick my dick into anything, and you will do for now.”

Guys, how many times have you heard, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” or “You’re like a brother” from a woman who just emotionally dumped all over you? What she really means is, “I want you as an emotional crutch, but if I had to fuck you, it wouldn’t be worth it.”

Being single sucks. Single people don’t care how many fish are in the sea, because when you’re fishing alone, this is what it feels like:


  1. I let my kids know that the most difficult thing that they'll ever do is be in a relationship.

  2. Happy Anniversary; our 3rd anniversary was fairly significant and we went sky-diving to celebrate.

    My 16th anniversary is tomorrow - yes, I was about 12 when I married, not quite but I was quite young.

    Hope you having fun "doing it" tonight.

    1. Hope you having fun "doing it" tonight.

      That is why we don't do it on anniversaries and birthdays: I don't want to think about people knowing I'm having sex. It's not even you I care about knowing, more parents and other family, but still.

      I have never had so much sexual pressure as on the night we got married, and not only because we had my wife's friends staying over at our apartment.

    2. It's 100 times worse if the couple are virgins on their wedding night. Before the wedding, no sexual jokes but after...I've never seen a bunch of people talk about sex more, and the blushing newlyweds can't escape.

    3. Some cultures check the sheets for blood and may even display them proudly. *shiver*

  3. There's some decent stuff in here but I have a few comments:

    "It’s not great being married, but it’s easier than being single."

    What's difficult about being single?

    “Well, now you’re single, so you can sleep with anyone.”

    I take it this is meant to be a tongue in cheek paragraph, but really, if you're a super social person, you can hook up with anyone who's willing (including attached people willing to cheat).

    "“I’m just not happy.” Tough shit. Try waiting a while, and I bet you’ll find that it passes."

    Yes, and no. It really depends on the frequency and duration of the periods of unhappiness. If you find that after a few years of being together you are happier when you are alone, time to move on. My parents' are not happy together, but because they come from a generation which simply refuses to quit marriage. They're still together. They don't share the same bed, and they barely talk to each other even though they live in the same house.

    "Ladies, how many times have you heard, “I really like you, but I’m not ready/looking for a relationship right now” from a guy you just slept with?"

    This works both ways.

    1. What's difficult about being single?

      Well, for one thing, when you're single it is harder to put sunscreen on your back.

      if you're a super social person, you can hook up with anyone who's willing (including attached people willing to cheat).

      Let's be honest... if you're a super social person, you aren't reading a blog.

      They don't share the same bed, and they barely talk to each other even though they live in the same house.

      That sounds like the healthiest marriage I know of.

      This works both ways.

      Sure, there are women who just want sex without a relationship and men who just want emotional support without sex. However, it's far more common for a guy to sleep with someone he has no interest in dating and for a woman to friendzone a guy. I don't know why this is, it's just been my personal experience through my and my friends' relationships. It's not a rule so much as an observed trend.


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